banner photo
Adelsman's Cross-Country Ski Page:  skinnyski.com
Field Reports


Home Ski Repair

By Brian May, with expert advice from Grant Nelson
February 28, 2005

So, you’ve been emulating Andrew Newell or maybe (like me) you’ve headed off-trail one too many times during a ski-orienteering race. In any case, you’ve heard the ominous crack of your ski as its structure disintegrated in one quick snap. Before your ski heads for the garbage bin, think about whether it is salvageable. If your base material is still intact, there is a good chance you can repair your ski. It will never be the same again, but it may still be perfectly good for training and rock-ski conditions (and more ski-orienteering!).


There’s a good chance your ski has a broken top-sheet, side-walls and internal structure (i.e., the only thing intact is the base!). In this case, you will want to rebuild it from the inside out. Before doing anything else, it is a good idea to iron in a thick layer of glide wax to protect your base during the repair procedure. Then, you will need to open up your ski (using a sharp utility knife) and peel back the top-sheet so you can access the internal structure a couple inches in front and behind the break.

To strengthen the ski, glue a few small pieces of wood or (cured) fiber-glass within the honey-comb core of the ski. These pieces should be 4-5 inches long, roughly the height of the ski core and roughly as thick as a channel in the honey-comb structure. I use pieces cut from the top-sheet of an old broken ski, but any piece of light/stiff wood should do the trick. Channels are cut out of the core (using a utility knife) to accept the reinforcements. Sand the wood pieces well and ensure that they can drop all the way down to support the ski base. Insert the wood pieces, then number them to keep track of where each piece should go.

I also layer a few pieces of fiberglass between the honey-comb core and the existing top-sheet, so it is good to cut these out now and get them ready. A couple of these should be the full length of the open section, while a couple can be a bit shorter, to focus the strength where it is needed most.

Internal reinforcement

It’s time to mix up some good-quality epoxy and start gluing! First, brush some epoxy down into the honey-comb where the reinforcements will go. Then, coat the reinforcements with epoxy and drop them into place.

Brush some more epoxy over the top of the honey-comb and layer down the fiber-glass strips. Ensure that each strip of glass is saturated before putting down the next layer. Squeeze the original top-sheets down on top of the glass and get ready to clamp them down.

It is important to clamp the ski in a way that will preserve its original shape (and maybe even flex!). It’s a good idea to have the other ski on hand to ensure the two skis have the same final shape. I use a couple of pieces of old ski to clamp top and bottom (because they have just about the perfect curvature). I also wrap the broken ski in Saran wrap first so I don’t glue the whole mess together. Clamp it down and let it set up overnight.

With the clamps and wrap removed, the ski should look something like this. Note that the ski is still missing a chunk of side-wall (this could have been glued in during the previous step). The wood reinforcement is visible through the hole.

External reinforcement

To add a little more strength to the top-sheet, a couple more layers of glass can be glued to the top. Sand the ski down well to ensure a smooth starting point and to ensure a good bond between the ski and the new layers.

Add a couple of layers of glass to the top surface, saturating each layer before adding the next. Again, concentrate the strength near the original break. Here, I have also glued in the original piece of side-wall.

Wrap tightly with Saran wrap to ensure a smooth finish and add a clamp to hold in the side-wall piece. Let it set up overnight.

Final touches

The final step is a single layer of fiber-glass to emulate the original Cap construction. This will also provide a little more strength and protection for the side-walls. Sand the top-sheet and side-walls again to ensure a smooth starting point. Cut out a piece of glass that will extend over the top and down over the side-walls. Saturate the final layer of glass with epoxy and position on the ski.

Wrap tightly with Saran wrap to hold the glass in place and to ensure a smooth finish.

After letting it sit overnight, unwrap and sand for the final time. Scrape the wax off the base and go ski!

The end result may not be as pretty as the original and the ski may never be “race-ready”, but it should serve as a fully functional ski in the years to come.

About Us | Advertising Information | Privacy Statement
This service provided to you according to our Visitor Agreement
Return to Top
© 2005 skinnyski.com. All Rights Reserved.